By James Parker
August 30, 2022

What Is Aspiration?

Aspiration is a medical procedure that is employed to remove fluids or tissues from the body by using suction. This procedure is employed in order to test removed material for diseases or disorders. 

Aspiration is commonly employed to diagnose conditions such as cancers, cysts, meningitis, abdominal infections, or complications arising from pregnancy. Aspiration can also be employed to remove fluid from joints or body cavities that is excessive or infected. 

Aspiration is a flexible procedure that can be performed on virtually any organ or body region. In its simplest form, aspiration only requires a needle or syringe to withdraw fluid from cells. While it is a useful diagnostic tool, it is not the exclusive option for the treatment of diseases or conditions.

Some of the most common types of aspiration are:

  • Abdominal taps
  • Amniocentesis
  • Arthrocentesis
  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Mass aspiration
  • Thoracentesis

Each of these procedures has a specific use that makes aspiration the most effective procedure.

An abdominal tap, also called an abdominal paracentesis, is an aspiration of fluid from the space around the abdomen. Abdominal taps can be employed to diagnose why fluid is building up, or just to drain the abdomen of excess fluid. Abdominal taps may also be used to diagnose conditions such as peritonitis or bleeding caused by abdominal trauma.

Amniocentesis is a type of aspiration that is used on pregnant people. This type of aspiration removes amniotic fluid from a pregnant person’s uterus. Amniocentesis can be used to diagnose certain fetal or uterine conditions such as blood type incompatibility between the fetus and mother, infections, genetic abnormalities, and deficient or excessive amounts of amniotic fluid. Amniocentesis is also utilized to determine if a baby’s lungs are developed enough for birth.

Arthrocentesis is an aspiration that removes synovial fluid from a joint. This can determine the cause of swelling or relieve joint pain by injecting medications or removing excessive or infected fluid from a joint.

Bone marrow aspiration is a procedure used to remove bone marrow for biopsy purposes. This procedure can test the production of healthy red blood cells, help diagnose leukemia and other cancers, and evaluate the effectiveness of cancer treatment. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy can also be utilized to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities and potential causes of low blood counts or fever.

A Lumbar puncture or spinal tap is an aspirational process that removes fluid from the spine. Lumbar punctures can test for infections and inflammatory diseases of the spine and nervous system as well as injecting certain medications, such as antibiotics and chemotherapy. Spinal taps are one of the more physically intense forms of aspiration.

Mass aspiration is the removal of tissue from a lump, cyst, tumor, or mass. Mass aspiration is performed in most organs or body regions to test for infection, cancer, or other problems. Mass aspiration can also be used to drain fluids from cysts as a form of treatment.

Thoracentesis, also called a pleural tap, is a form of aspiration that removes fluid from the space around the lungs. Thoracentesis can determine the reason for fluid buildup, drain excess fluid to ease breathing, or diagnose an infection in the lung space.

Key Takeaways

  • Aspiration is a medical procedure that removes fluid or tissue from an organ or bodily region for purposes of diagnosis, treatment, or even injection of medication.
  • Aspiration can be performed on a variety of body regions including the lungs, spine, or bone marrow.
  • Many asbestos-related lung conditions, including mesothelioma can be discovered through an aspiration procedure.
  • If you have been exposed to asbestos and have had health complications confirmed by pleural aspiration, an experienced Personal Injury attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your case by utilizing experience and expert knowledge.

Aspiration, Asbestos, and Personal Injury Law

People who have been exposed to asbestos, and are concerned about developing an asbestos pleural disease may be recommended to undergo pleural aspiration to diagnose or treat their condition. Some asbestos-related pleural diseases that can be diagnosed or treated by aspiration include pleural effusion.

Most aspiration performed in a sensitive organ like the lungs is known as fine needle aspiration. This technique can diagnose many lung conditions and can incidentally detect the most serious asbestos-related disease: mesothelioma.

Whether or not the fine needle aspiration will be able to detect mesothelioma depends on the size of the tissue sample removed and the type of mesothelioma cells that are present. In general, the asbestos-related pleural diseases that will be detected are pleural effusions, pleural thickening, or potentially asbestosis.

Even if a fine needle biopsy does find evidence of mesothelioma, additional testing should be conducted. The most common test used to confirm the diagnosis is a thoracoscopy. Another test that can confirm a fine needle aspiration biopsy is a molecular RNA test. These tests require cytopathologists to conduct and can therefore be difficult to perform.

The most common individuals who are performing these fine needle aspirations are not cytopathologists. In most cases, a general surgeon specializing in the surgical care of diseases, injuries, and deformities will perform the aspiration. Sometimes, a pulmonologist will perform the aspiration. A pulmonologist is an internist or pediatrician with specialized training that focuses on treating diseases or conditions that occur in the chest including pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, or complicated chest infections. 

Bottom Line

If you have been exposed to any form of asbestos and have developed any cancers or health complications, including mesothelioma or asbestos pleural disease, that has been diagnosed through aspiration or other diagnostic processes, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the costs of medical expenses, pain, suffering, or lost wages. In order to file and prevail in your personal injury lawsuit, you will need the help of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.

With their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses, your Personal Injury attorney will be able to zealously advocate for you in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Additionally, since Personal Injury attorneys work on contingency, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.

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